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Referral Process

Pupils are accepted on to the programme on a referral basis only by the local authority. Pupils are offered a full time programme of between 20 and 25 hours a week. The programme covers two years and is taught over five days each week. A pupil’s programme may include an extended work experience placement. Learning takes place in an informal environment and with a staff-to-student ratio of at least one-to-four, and often one-to-two. We offer appropriate qualifications and accreditation suitable for students of all levels who would achieve more effectively through short and varied learning opportunities.

Open Box Education Centre is an independent alternative provision school registered with the Department for Education to provide full time education for up to 16-20 students in Years 10 & 11 and is subject to inspections by OFSTED. Open Box Education Centre is also registered with Essex County Council on the Essex Directory of Alternative Providers.

Referral Guidelines

Referrals can be made to the Open Box Alternative Education Centre for students who will be in either Year 10 or Year 11 when they join us with reference to the following guidelines:
The programme is suitable for students where removal from the school environment and the normal curriculum is deemed necessary for their wellbeing and academic progress.

We recommend students are referred only when all other strategies have been unsuccessful in settling the student into mainstream education.
A number of factors might lead to the referral of a student including:

  • repeated confrontation with staff leading to a breakdown in constructive relationships

  • difficult relationships with other students

  • persistent absence

  • inability to function appropriately in the school environment or classroom, possibly exacerbated by low ability or special educational needs

  • current behaviour in school is unmanageable and potentially dangerous

Referral should be made where the student:

  • is deemed to be at risk of exclusion or of making no educational progress in their current situation

  • would suffer significantly in regards to their mental health without additional emotional support such as counselling and mentoring

  • is in need of a curriculum different from the normal GCSE pathway, taught in a more informal environment

  • would benefit from short sessions of varied activities with a high staff-to-student ratio, possibly alongside an extended work experience placement.

Working in Partnership with Referring Agencies

A student’s placement is agreed and managed by the Principal in consultation with the link staff member from the referring agency. A Service Level Agreement is established with the referring agency before any referrals are accepted (see Appendix 5).

The Principal and the link staff member communicate regularly via emails, phone calls and meetings to discuss students, at least once a term. The link staff member is required to be present at any disciplinary meetings following serious incidents, should they occur, in accordance with the Behaviour Policy (see Policy Pack). The link staff member is invited to Progress Review meetings and is sent copies of the termly Progress Reports.

The referral process:

  1. Principal receives request for a placement for a student from a referring agency

  2. A pre-referral visit may be arranged for the student and parent to Open Box Education Centre

  3. The link staff member oversees the submission and completion of a referral form

  4. If a Service Level Agreement is in place with the referring agency and the Principal deems the referral appropriate, a referral interview will take place with student, parent/carer, link staff member and the Principal

  5. A timetable, hours, curriculum and start date will be agreed in consultation with the link staff member, student and parents/carers.

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